Job Search Tips for Older Workers: How to Find Jobs and Apply to Them to Stand Out
The job market can be challenging at any age, but it doesn't have to be. Here is what you need to know as an older worker to land a better job faster.
The job market can be tough at any age, but it's especially difficult for older workers to find jobs that match their skills and experience. The competition is fierce as the fastest-growing segment of job seekers in the current market is older workers. This group also typically has the longest time to find a new job. Here is what you need to know as an older worker to land a new job faster.
The job market is constantly changing, and so are the skills required for certain positions. You can stay relevant in the current market by focusing your skills and message on the types of jobs that you want to pursue now. A focused message on your resume will set the stage for an effective interview and help you to stand out from other candidates.
This could also mean learning new skills or refreshing them for the current market. There are plenty of online courses to take if you want to build new skills. Many of these online providers provide free or low-cost options to learn software or substantive skills (i.e. Coursera, Udemy).
Age Proof Your Resume
The best way to age-proof your resume is to keep it limited to the past 15 years. Do not lead with how many years you have done something as this isn't always viewed positively. Instead, focus on the most recent, relevant experiences that you have. Frame these details up on your resume in a way that connects with the jobs that you are pursuing.
You can keep your career progression on your resume, but you don't have to list details under every single position. Instead, you can group some of the older roles with the title of "Prior Experience." You can also opt to leave off the years in this section if they are quite dated at this time. But, remember, you don't have to list every job ever on your resume. So, be ready to leave off some of your early jobs.
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Target Your Job Search
It's important to target your job search specifically to the positions you're interested in. Don't apply for every job that is open – take the time to research specific companies and positions that interest you. You can be most effective in this process if you use a keyword strategy. This means looking for positions with phrases rather than job titles. This strategy will enable you to cast a wide net in your job search. This is particularly important in the current job market where job titles can mean very different things at different organizations.
Think Outside the Box
When job hunting, it's important to be creative and think outside the box. If you're having a difficult time finding jobs that match your qualifications, consider applying for positions that are a step down from your job experience. If you have been in an executive position, for example, consider applying for managerial jobs if you are looking at a new industry or a larger organization where you have been previously. Being open-minded will expand the potential roles that you can pursue and enable you to land a better opportunity.
Social media is a powerful tool for job seekers of all ages, but it's especially beneficial for those who are over 50. Nearly 80% of employers use social media to screen candidates, so having a strong online presence is essential. In fact, over 90% of recruiters are on LinkedIn every single day to find candidates.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete and up-to-date. This includes a new headshot and a refreshed message that aligns with your current career goals. This means using every field on your profile and incorporating keywords across your profile in the right ways. Doing this will maximize your visibility to recruiters and talent acquisition technology that scans your profile for fit. Not sure where to start with your LinkedIn profile? One of our professional profile builders would be happy to help. Get help now.
Focus on Experience
The key to standing out in your current job search is the ability to apply your past experience to your current career goals. The employers that you will meet with are looking to fill a specific job. This means talking about your past experience with reference to the skills that you used. This will make it easy for the person reviewing your application to see you in their open job.
It's also important to focus on job-related skills and accomplishments in your job search. You want to talk about the specific results that you have achieved over the course of your career. This can be done through case studies, job descriptions or even a portfolio of work you've accomplished at past jobs. If possible, try to quantify these results with numbers to show the impact you've had.
Find Where You are Valued
Your job search should be focused on finding a cultural fit for your personality and strengths. This means taking the time to understand what drives you in a job. As an older job seeker, you may want to find a job that aligns with your values and motivates you. Consider talking with friends, family members or professional colleagues who can help you assess where your strengths lie and where they are valued at this stage of your career.
Make sure that you are also evaluating potential employers in the interviewing process. You can do this by asking questions about the team, the leadership, and how people are supported in the role. Focus on your priorities and ask the questions that will enable you to understand the organization in the interview. This is key to making sure that you don't get stuck in a job that isn't a fit.
Leverage Your Network
The job search process is not a one-way street. You need to be actively networking with people in your field and in the organizations you want to work for. This means meeting people for coffee, scheduling Zoom calls to connect, coordinating lunches, or attending networking events.
Only 11% of people are landing jobs through online job applications. Most employers now prefer to fill their open jobs with employee referrals or introductions. Make sure that you are tapping into these opportunities by asking for help from your network. This means that your time pursuing new jobs as an older worker should be split equally between applying to jobs and to networking as both are equally important now.
Be active in your job search and don't be afraid to ask for help in finding the right job. It's important to remember that most people are willing to help if you give them an opportunity. So, take advantage of this valuable resource and start building your network today.
Follow Your Passions
As an older worker, you have lots of experience and the knowledge to know your strengths. Use that to your advantage to pursue your passions now. This may mean starting your own business, becoming a consultant or pursuing other opportunities that you are interested in.
Don't waste your time applying for or interviewing for positions that don't advance your personal interests and values. This is your career and time to make the most of what you want next. Use your job search to land a job doing what you love with people that have similar ideals. The important thing is that you are doing something that uses your skills and allows you to make an impact.
Looking for a job as an older worker can be daunting, but with the right job search tips it can also be a lot easier. By focusing on your strengths, networking with people in your field, and being creative in your job applications, you'll be able to find a job that is perfect for you.
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